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Judge criticises brothers for initiating Will dispute

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The sons of a retired farmer, who died five years ago, have lost a legal battle over their late father’s Will.

Richard and Jonathan Powell had argued that their dad, David, had not understood what he was doing when he changed his Will to give a greater share of his estate to their stepmother.

The new version of the document left £125,000 to Ailsa Powell, £25,000 more than the sum set aside previously.

Mr Powell’s sons had gone to court to argue that the earlier arrangements should be considered their father’s “last true Will”.

But the claim was rejected by Judge Marc Dight, who accused the siblings of being unreasonable.

“[Mrs Powell] should not have been put to the trouble and expense of proving this claim on the tenuous basis of challenge advanced by Richard and Jonathan Powell,” he said.

“My conclusion is that their position has not been reasonable at any point in this litigation. Their stance has, it is apparent to me, been driven by personal issues and not by a reasonable inquiry into their father’s state of mind.”

Central London County Court heard that Mr Powell had died in 2012 following a protracted battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

His death triggered the legal dispute between the sons from his first marriage and 75-year-old Mrs Powell.

Ironically, the costs attached to the case – which the brothers have been ordered to pay by Judge Dight – will almost entirely wipe out their own share of the inheritance.